Local enthusiasts flock to inaugural confab on virtual reality

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Judges and winners of the first ever Philippine Mobile VR Jam during the VR Conference recently held at PLDT Innolab in Mandaluyong. (From left to right) VR PH founder and tech-evangelist Cristopher David, PLDT VP for mainstream business development and research Joey Limjap, members of Team VROS Mark Joseph Basibas, Juan Paolo Espiritu and John Hay Supetran, Michael Gaerlan of Samsung and Lem Palad of Smart Communications Judges and winners of the first ever Philippine Mobile VR Jam during the VR Conference recently held at PLDT Innolab in Mandaluyong. (From left to right) VR PH founder and tech-evangelist Cristopher David, PLDT VP for mainstream business development and research Joey Limjap, members of Team VROS Mark Joseph Basibas, Juan Paolo Espiritu and John Hay Supetran, Michael Gaerlan of Samsung and Lem Palad of Smart Communications[/caption] The VR Conference, organized by Virtual Reality Philippines (VR Philippines) and sponsored by PLDT, is the biggest gathering of virtual reality developers, including VR start-ups, independent developers, programmers, 3D animation specialists and enthusiasts in the country. The event was aimed to develop the country?s local virtual reality content and to help define the promising future of this game-changing technology. VR Philippines, a non-profit community for the advancement of virtual reality technology, brought together over 70 attendees and divided into 11 teams comprised of university students and freelance or professional app developers. The teams created some of the most promising VR developments during the 48-hour hackathon kick-off (Samsung?s Gear VR-Philippine Mobile VR Jam) through their own VR game or app ? ranging from a horror game to an educational and science reference ? for the Samsung Gear VR using room-scale tracking and natural input technology of HTC Vive and StreamVR platform. Subsequently, the participants exhibited their creations, shared their experiences, and competed for the special awards and overall championship in the culminating event which was the VR Conference. ?The virtual reality community in our country is now gaining ground, and PLDT is here to show its all-out support. To say that VR in the Philippines is a promising innovation is an understatement. It is here, and it is now, and we (PLDT) clearly see that the youth is definitely not wasted on these young VR developers and enthusiasts,? said Joey Limjap, PLDT VP for mainstream business development and research. During the conference, informative talks were held on several related topics such as the VR industry profile, ways on how to make VR social, the community?s best practices, and the potential of VR for the corporate world, institutions, cultural preservation and the academe. To illustrate the scientific yet fun-filled event, Ace Lobos, the leader of a group of young artists and developers called Team Supremo, appeared more like an excited party guest than a grim and determined technician while doing the finishing touches to his team?s entry, a VR game called ?The Leaning Tower of Piza.? ?(We) aim to develop a game (that) would appeal to both gamers and developers, and to showcase our skills and creativity while learning and exploring the world of virtual reality,? Lobos said. Team Supremo?s work was awarded The Best Game in the competition. Team VROS (Diwata VR) bagged the Overall Winner as it was awarded the Most Innovative Use of VR and Best Application titles. The team is composed of Paolo Espiritu, John Hay Supetran and Mark Joseph Basibas who are now richer with P50,000 worth of Samsung gift certificates plus Samsung Gear VRs and trophies. The team?s entry is the Virtual Reality Simulator for the Diwata-1 microsatellite, an app for students who wish to learn how to program the satellite by interfacing with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi over Bluetooth which, in turn, simulates accurate rotation movements and sensor measurements in space as well as a breathtaking view of the Earth. Diwata-1 is also known as PHL-Microsat-1, a Philippine micro-satellite launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on March 23, 2016 and was deployed into orbit from the ISS on April 27, 2016. It is the first Philippine micro-satellite and the first satellite built and designed by Filipinos. Espiritu, who was part of the group who helped build the microsatellite and spokesperson for Team VROS, said that ?VR has a lot of potential for education, for learning, we can use it to teach physics, chemistry and other sciences. Not necessarily just for aerospace engineering,? Team Arstar (Nayong Pilipino VR) went home with the Most Immersive Award and Best User Experience. Team members also received trophies and Samsung Gear VRs.]]>

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